On the 23rd of June, we, British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who are resident in the UK have the right to vote in a referendum to decide if we want to stay in the EU or leave. The Conservatives, the Labour Party and the Liberals are promoting to stay in the EU though about half of Conservative MPs, including five cabinet ministers, several Labour MPs and the DUP are in favour of leaving. The party united in its stance to leave the EU is the UKIP.
I had the privilege of spending a weekend at the home of the Member of the European Parliament for the South West Counties & Gibraltar for UKIP, William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth and discuss the pros and cons of the UK leaving the EU. Before this weekend, I had read extensively the government’s arguments of why we should stay in the EU and after much consideration I have arrived to the conclusion that the best for the UK is definitely to divorce amicably the EU and regain control of our affairs.
The government and it’s allies are arguing that we should stay for the following reasons:
1) 3 million UK jobs are dependent on trade with the EU
2) The UK exports to the EU will cease after Brexit.
3) The EU negotiates trade agreements with the rest of the world. Outside the EU Britain would have to renegotiate trade deals alone. While the EU is the world’s largest market, a UK outside the EU would not be a high priority for other counties to negotiate a trade deal.
4) As 28 democracies, and as the world’s biggest market, we are strong when we work together.Britain is represented in many international organizations in joint EU delegations – giving Britain more influence than it would have alone. The EU has played a major role in climate, world trade and development.
5) Common rules for the common market make it unnecessary to have 28 sets of national regulations.
6) The European Arrest Warrant replaced long extradition procedures and enables the UK to extradite criminals wanted in other EU countries, and bring to justice criminals wanted in the UK who are hiding in other EU countries. Europe just helps UK authorities work with other EU countries’ to tackle international organised crime such as drug smuggling, people trafficking and money laundering.
7) 1.4 million British people live abroad in the EU. More than 14,500 UK students took part in the European Union’s Erasmus student exchange scheme in 2012-13. Driving licences issued in the UK are valid throughout the EU.
8) As 28 democracies, and as the world’s biggest market, we are strong when we work together. Britain is represented in many international organisations in joint EU delegations – giving Britain more influence than it would have alone. The EU has played a major role in climate, world trade and development.
9) Investment in the UK would diminish if we exit the EU
But the truth is the following:
- Our membership of the World Trade Organization protects us from vexatious actions by trading partners so the jobs would not be at risk.
- The other EU Member States export more to the UK than we do to them and in any case we could have an agreement as Norway has by which has access to the single market but is not bound by EU laws on areas such as agriculture, justice and home affairs. Though the government states that the divorce would not be amicable it would as the UK is the 6th largest economy in the world, 2nd largest economy in Europe, second largest exporter of services in the world and the world’s number one financial center. Taking this into account it would be in the interest of the EU that the divorce is more than amicable!
- Since 1975, all of the UK’s Trade Agreements have been negotiated by the EU Trade Commissioner that has to take into account the interests of ALL Member states, many of which are protectionists. Exit would relieve 100% of our economy from the burden of EU regulations. A fact is that the majority of small and medium sized firms do not trade with the EU but are restricted by a huge regulatory burden imposed from abroad. 100% of the UK’s economy is subject to the burden of EU regulation. Less than 10% of the UK GOP derives from exports to the EU. Indeed up to 95% of the UK firms do not sell to the EU at all!
- The UK outside of the EU would be able to negotiate a new trade agreement with the EU and we would regain our ability to negotiate trade agreements in our national interest by reactivating our seat in the World Trade Organization. By being in the EU we have no control over trade policy so we are banned from negotiating deals with our natural partners, the Commonwealth nations. The crude reality is that while the countries in the Commonwealth are growing at a predicted rate of 7.3%, the EU’s share of global wealth is projected to be only 15% in 2025. We must not forget that there are 53 countries in the Commonwealth with over 2.2 billion population
- In a world united against a common enemy: Terrorism, as it is now, Europe would continue helping UK authorities to tackle international organized crime and share security information and vice versa. The EU cooperates with Switzerland and Norway, European nations not on the EU or other non- European allies.
- Over 3 million European nationals live in the UK whilst under 1.5 million UK nationals live in the EU. Undoubtedly agreements would be reached when the exit agreements comes into effect, to protect the interests of these citizens. The reality is that currently over 450 million people in the EU have the absolute right to live, work and settle in the UK. Open Trade should not mean Open Borders!
- The UK has little influence in the EU. Just 8.24% of the votes in the Council of Ministers and even this influence is declining. Outside of the EU we would recover our full sovereignty including parts of our Common Law, control over the NHS, Royal Mail and our fisheries etc.
- Free from EU rules and regulations, Britain could reinvent itself as a Singapore-style supercharged economy and investment will pour in and would continue to be the Financial Center of the world.
As the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has said: “This is a moment for Britain to be brave, to reach out – not to hug the skirts of nurse in Brussels and refer all decisions to someone else.”
My conclusion is that the UK does not need to be in a Political Union in order to trade. Britannia can be great again but definitely outside the EU. Latest polls seem to suggest that their is a growing number that have reached the same conclusion. We will see on June 23rd.
Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, of Canada, of Australia, of New Zealand, of Jamaica, of Belize, of Papua New Guinea, of Antigua & Barbuda, of Grenada, of Barbados, of the Bahamas, of St Kitts & Nevis, of Santa Lucia, of Saint Vincent & the Granadines, of the Solomon Islands and of Tavulu.
Sources: The Economist, The Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Daily Mail, The Guardian, Lord Dartmouth, Express